Friday, September 29, 2006

Local Yarn Acquisition

Yummy Icelandic Worsted Weight. Soft. All natural. The color is actually a shade lighter than the photo looks here.

This is from a sheep that lives within 50 miles of Argyle, which is about 4 miles south of here, so the sheep and I are practically neighbors.

I like the fact that this is a heritage breed (help keep really cute sheep alive, buy their wool!). I like the fact that I am supporting a local farmer and a local small business. Makes me feel positively virtuous buying yarn.

It's lovely having the mill so close. Besides carrying the wool they spin themselves, they have a really wide color selection of Cascade 220, and a small but choice selection of sock yarns. And Elizabeth told me today that they will soon be spinning merino and Alpaca/Llama.

Argyle Fiber Mill Home

The rights for my Madison Scarf just reverted to me, so I am going to use this for a pattern sample in the Seaman's Scarf version.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


By the umpteenth repeat of the shawl edging pattern, I have it half memorized. This is a dangerous place to be. It is the place where your mind can wander just a little bit, start to think of what you need to get done tomorrow, or roll around blog ideas, or half compose a letter to some idiot in government, when all of a sudden, Oops! missed a yarn over two rows back.

It's not a biggie. It's not going to be all that noticeable, really, now is it? And besides, I have already decided that this version of the shawl is really just a first draft...

I am not by nature a "detail oriented" person. I like to look at the big picture. (Which might help explain why my stint in the banking world was not an overwhelming success. Would you be willing to settle for a general overview of your account balance? No? You want specifics?)

So this is where I have to grit my teeth and ask myself the hard, fundamental question: "What Would Mouse Potato Do?"

Mouse is a knitting mentor par excellence over on the knitting forum. She is a cheerleader, able teacher, source of unending knitting information, and I believe a perfectionist in regards to her own work. Sigh! It seems she has now become sort of my knitting conscience.

OK Mouse-who-now-lives-in-my-head. Tink, tink, tink, tink, tink.....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rounding the Bend

As I was working the Progressive Shawl edging around the bottom point I added in some extra "ease". For roughly two pattern repeats just before and after the corner, I ended every other incoming row with K1 instead of the K2tog that would join it to the edge. I say "roughly" because, kiddos, I was winging it here. I didn't chart it out, and I didn't write down exactly how many times I did this on each side of the point. I'm hoping the blocking fudge factor godesses will be good to me.

If I ever get to the point of writing the pattern up, I'll have to be more precise. But if I go there, I think I'll be changing the pick up ratio for the border. The garter center is a little scrunched where it joins the stockinette based border. I'm still reserving final judgement until after blocking. But if my suspicions prove to be well founded, and the border numbers have to change, there no point in calculating an absolutely precise edging repeat here. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

fichu border clarification

I had a question about the border for the lace fichu, so I've put up a chart and a little more explanation here: fichuborderclarification

Alas, the technical college was one student short, so they had to cancel the class. We'll try again next semester.

On the bright side, that gives me time I can put to use 1) making some progress on the Progressive Shawl, 2) using up some more of the eyelash stash making fuzzy wuzzy scarves to take to the River Valley Trading Co on consignment.

The prep work wasn't a total waste. I got the teaching materials organized, which I had been meaning to do ever since last spring. And I'll try offering it through the store in Oct. They have had a couple of inquiries, so we'll see if that translates to actual registrations. At least there I won't be looking at a minimum number to make it go.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Population 800 - Pig on the Loose

While I was upstairs writing my post about the parade, my husband was downstairs calling our "across the street" neighbor to offer her a ride to a wedding reception. In the middle of the conversation she says, "Steve, there's a pig coming down the street."
"There's a pig coming down the street!"
Husband rushes to sunroom, where he can see LaVonne on her front step while a potbellied pig comes down the side street, across the road and up LaVonne's steps.

This is the point where I hear, "Cindy, come here, hnnnn, there's a hnnnn!"
"There's a pig!"

So as Steve and LaVonne were still discussing whose pig it could possibly be, I headed out the door and across the street. And sure enough, there is a very cute, very clean little pig thoughtfully chewing on LaVonne's flowers.

Husband arrives. Discussion ensues. The pig came from the direction of Husie's house. His little girl has several pets. Was it hers? Call to Husie's place of business (bar full of Homecoming celebrants). Does Husie have a pig? No, but they think his friend does; they will let her know.

By this time, LeVonne's daughter & daughter's friend & friend's husband (all in town for Homecoming) have come out of the house. The pig is friendly, likes being scratched, snuffles endearingly at outstretched hands, but evades attempts to herd it into garage.

Pig starts running around the side yard, apparently playing a game & having great fun. Husband and self run up and down trying to keep it out of the street, as the game has just let out and traffic is picking up. One of husband's former 6th grade students comes by on bike. He knows who owns the pig. Pedals off in search of owner.

The pig makes a break for it and heads into the street. I leap after it, arms waving to stop traffic. Pig moseys, stops to consider options while 5 or 6 cars wait, then continues on in the direction from whence it originally came. More neighbors emerge from house as pig crosses their yard, pausing to poop.

Pig's owner & Husie's daughter appear. Owner profusely apologetic, "He's never done anything like this before!" (She didn't need to apologize. The pig was the highlight of our afternoon). Pig docilely and cheerfully follows owner home.

Steve says that without a doubt some first grader will come up to him on Monday to ask him about the pig. This is pretty much a given. The first (and thankfully only) time I skidded the car off a snow covered road, word got back to town before I did.

Alas, in all the excitement, I didn't grab my camera. So here's Baxter, showing exactly what he thinks of all the fuss. Pigs, indeed!

Population 800 - Homecoming Parade

The crowds are gathering.

This is the prettiest view in town. I'm standing up by the Methodist Church (right next to the large wood cross with lightbulbs that gets turned on around Christmas time.)

The parade opened with the American Legion honor guard. I'm sorry I didn't make it down the hill in time to get their photo. They're all getting pretty old, and they are fine men. The high school band (here rounding the corner) comes next. They sound bigger than they look. And of course, some of the members are already suited up and over at the football field. (Notice the block long gap between the band and the next unit - the parade starts pretty strung out and bunches up at the end. It's always this way). My nephew is playing the sax, but he's on the far side and you can't see him very well. By three steps around the corner, the band members have ditched their uniforms and headed back to the street to mingle and watch the rest of the action.

Note people on roof. 364 days of the year you could take a picture of Main St and catch maybe four people total.

After the band come the elementary school units interspersed with fire trucks. The trucks in this shot are our own, but there are also units from nearby towns. The guys (and women) take pride, and well they should. These are all volunteers, and we would be in a hard place without them.

After the fire trucks come the commercial units. There were quite a few this year, again including some from neighboring areas. This is just a sample:

Fuzzy photo of hearse. This one is local.

Truck with T shirt cannon from Argyle. Note attempted launch into open window resulted in white shirt on roof of building. Yes those are giant canvas lawn chairs on the flatbed.

This one's from Hollandale. It's a mounted deer head on the back of a pickup truck. Mounted deer heads are significant around here. There is a big show every year at the hall up at the bowling alley, with prizes.

There were also (not pictured) various pieces of heavy equipment. And the bank employees walked with a banner and tossed little flying disks. The bank closed early for the parade because who is going to be banking during the parade and even if they wanted to they probably couldn't get through the crowd in front of the door.

There were also: two horses (with riders), one pony cart and two challengers for state office. The incumbents didn't bother to show up.

After the commercial section come the Alumni floats

The Class of 1945.

I forget which class this was, I just really, really like that John Deere.

This year the opposing team are the "Zephyrs", so a lot of alumni floats featured outhouse humor. I was standing next to one of the judges, who felt it was too crass. But she had spent a number of years living away from town in cities even bigger than Madison. I pointed out that on the bright side, this year there were no alumni floats with any religious or racial slurs of any kind, which is pretty good.

Men in drag always feature prominently. I have no idea why, except maybe Homecoming is just the closest thing we have to Mardi Gras.

Well, I missed photos of the princesses, and I have no excuse, because they come around twice, once near the beginning of the parade and once at the end. They looked pretty, up on the backs of convertibles; and I was pleased that the Homecoming Queen had a healthy build, not scrawny. After their second pass, some of the crowd headed back into the bars, and some (mostly older and more dressed up) went over to the Legion Hall for coffee, and some went to the game. But it was starting to rain, so some of us just headed for home.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Thanks to some good mentions on the Knitter's Review forum, I've sold 6 copies of the Lace Shoulder Shawl/Fichu pattern in the last two days. This may not seem like much, but normally they go at the rate of 1 or 2 a week, so I'm pretty darn happy. Thanks De Ann! Thanks Cala!

This is the pattern that both Knit Picks and Interweave Knits turned down, so I decided to market it myself.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Long Haul

I have started knitting on the edging for the Progressive Lace shawl, a process that always takes longer than one might think. But I have always had a fondness for edgings, attached or otherwise. Maybe it's because a little edging from the old "Workbasket" magazine is what really hooked me on lace knitting.

This one is not an original creation. I'm working from Sharon Miller's chart, but it's an old standard, and not complex, (so much for the shawl theme), though I suppose I could argue that it introduces the techniques of working with double yarn overs and knitting on.

I'll use this around the side edges. For the top (remember all those stitches waiting on the holder?), I'll use something very narrow, possibly just a single repeat of faggoting. I'll have time to think about it as I work my way around.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Here come the beginners, maybe

Registrations are borderline for my beginning knitting class at the technical college. If two more people sign up, it will be a go. I may not know until Monday. The class (if it happens) starts Tuesday, so.....better be prepared.

Thus my morning was spent in:
Pulling out last year's materials (had to find first- Ha!)
Reviewing and revising resource list, checking internet links to make sure they were current.
Rethinking teaching strategies.
Revising class outline and handouts.
Editing down the number of pages of handouts (Last year I asked for too many copies for the college's taste.)
Getting my swatch book back in order.

I still need to pick out books, magazines and finished objects that I want to bring in for Show and Tell, but that's going to wait until Friday. Oh, and come up with a box to haul everything in.

At the moment, it's all feeling like more bother than it's worth (1/2 hour commute, not much pay), but last year I found that I really did enjoy the teaching (despite stage fright) . Not every student takes to knitting, but a few do, and I love seeing their excitement.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Romance Lives

One of my husband's co-workers has been seeing a guy pretty steadily for the last few months. This weekend, on their way to dinner at a restaurant in Madison, he stopped by one of the parks, and suggested they just walk on down to check out a fishing spot he wanted to look at. It was cold and she wasn't all that interested, so she told him to go ahead while she waited in the car. But he said something like "Aw, come on, it's only going to take a minute," and she went along.

Down by the lake was a table with candles and flowers and a bottle of champagne. He got on one knee (really!) and telling her that he had already sought and received her father's blessing he asked her to marry him. (Now from a strictly feminist perspective, the father's blessing bit might be questioned, but somehow in the context it's amazingly sweet.)

There's more. They went on to the restaurant. The hostess led them through the room, opened the doors to a separate dining room with a flourish; and there were all of her family and all of his family waiting to share congratulations and celebrate. It must have been quite a night.

By the time DH finished telling me the story, we both had wet eyes. Sometimes the news from Lake Woebegon is very good indeed.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Onward and Outward

Well, as might be expected, progress on the Progressive Shawl is slowing as the rows get longer.

For this section, I switched back to a garter ground for two reasons 1) I hate working decreases in purl and 2) I thought it would give some textural interest and also make a visual reference back to the garter center. At this point I'm withholding final aesthetic judgment until it's blocked.

When I added the most recent ball of yarn I tried the join describe by Sharon Miller in "Heirloom Knitting". Basically, you tie a square knot leaving long tails, split the plies on the tails and cut off 1/2 the strands for each tail, twist the remaining strands around the working yarn and just knit them in. This is really intended to be used on a finer yarn, but the result was better than I anticipated even with this one. BTW, for some real eye candy, lace beyond my wildest aspirations, check out (Sharon's website).

Anyway, this puppy is starting to get pretty big. I have a few more rows of this section to finish, and then it's on to the edging.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I guess you'd have to call this political, so if you don't want that, don't click on this link. Andrew Sullivan The Daily Dish: What We've Lost All I want to add is that I've been a life long Democrat, but for today at least, my honest to god heros are three Republican Senators. Thank you Mr. Graham, thank you Mr. McCain, thank you Mr. Warner.

Border Patrol

In the middle of one night
Miss Clavel turned on her light
and said, "Something is not right!"
Ludwig Bemelmans, " Madeline"

If, while you are in the middle of a lace project, a similar feeling assails you: stop, do not pass go, drop everything and find out where the something went wrong. Because that feeling is always right. There's a mistake in there, and the sooner it's found and defeated, the better for all concerned. So count those stitches on the wrong side rows, learn to recognize the center point of each motif, beware of wily ring markers sliding through the middle of a stitch and coming up on the other side.

This is the border for the Progressive Shawl up to Row48. Row 39 was where I reached my personal "Honey, if you talk to me now I will kill you" level. That point might come somewhere else for you, dear reader. We all have our limits, but they vary. At any rate, I think I can fairly claim to be fulfilling my intention of having the shawl become more challenging as it progresses.
Row 44-48, however, were like butter, a piece of cake, a little breather before working pattern stitches every row. I'm going back to a garter ground, though. I'm not a total masochist.

Wow, fast service

I've been using a nice little program called Stitch & Motif Maker for producing lace charts, and have been very happy with it. (It is also capable of charting color work, texture patterns and cables.), happy enough that I didn't even bother to upgrade when the new version came out. With the shawl in progress, though, I decided I really did want the new color line feature. So late Thursday (well after normal business hours) I placed an order on their website. The software was in my mailbox this morning. I love these people! Oh, they also make a nice sweater design program called Sweater Wizard. No Affiliation, I just believe in giving credit where credit is due.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Population 800 - Band Practice

The sun is out, the windows are open, and the High School marching band is practicing out in the parking lot. They sound grand. They're working on a medley of patriotic tunes, no doubt in preparation for the Homecoming Parade, and it's rousing.

I did wonder why they started off with "God Save the Queen", until I realized I'd just been watching too many of my Anglophile husband's travel videos. (Doh! They're playing "My Country, 'tis of Thee").

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Opening Gambit

The shawl border is starting out with repeats of Razor Shell (surprise) alternating with a plain stockinette ground. See? easy so far.

Now that Razor Shell is going to transition into a frame for something a little fancier.

I narrowed it down to one column of eyelets and positioned a Shetland Madeira motif between columns. Now it's going to widen out again, but not as Razor Shell. We're getting a little more complex here, but still not too bad. After all, at this point every wrong side row is still plain old purl.

In Praise of Hildegard Elsner

In Barbara Walker's "Second Treasury of Knitting Pattern's", many of the entries carry the credit line Contributed by Hildegard M. Elsner, Aldan, Pennsylvania; and these include some of my favorite patterns in the book: Wickerwork, Ivy Leaf,German Herringbone Rib.....

Who was she? The attribution is so tantalizingly brief. Were these patterns favorites from her personal collection, gathered over the years? Did she want to hand them on because they were, in a sense, a part of her? Perhaps her interest was more an avid collector's. and she pored over references to discover patterns Walker had missed the first time around, excited by every new discovery.

Was she old when she submitted them? Young? Did she always live in Pennsylvania? Who taught her to knit?

I have a lot of knitting heroines. Most of them have published books and articles (or now, blogs). I have even met a couple. I know something about them. But Hildegard remains elusive.

Hildegard, whoever you are, or were, your patterns are lovely. I thank and salute you!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
all that cold, cold wet day."
Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

These last few days have been of the damp and dreary autumnal sort. (There's promise of sunshine later today, but we'll wait and see....)

"We sat in the house.
We sat there we two,
And we said 'How we wish
We had something to do."

Unlike Sally and the unnamed narrator, I do have something to do. The garter center of the Progressive Shawl is done. I have placed the live stitches on some waste yarn for now (I'll knit an edging onto them after the border is done.)

I'm picking up stitches for the base of the border from those little yo loops. I am pleased and gratified to say that the formula I came up with worked. "How wide do I have to work the center section to end up with 50 loops on each side? Hmmm.....Let's try: (x-1)/2 = y, where x is the number of stitches on the needle and y is the number of loops per side. Eureka!" This works when you start with an odd number of stitches. I haven't attempted it with an even number.

If you try to do this at home, take note. The loops at the corners sort of stretch out and can be hard to see, but they are there. Also, I had to pick up thru the very first loop purlwise so as not to undo the last stitch on the holder thread. All the rest I picked up normally. If I had broken off the working thread between the end of the last knit row and the beginning of the pick ups, I could have done them all normally, but who needs more loose ends to work in?

In the meantime, in- between-time, I've decided the border pattern needs to be a bit wider, so: graph, swatch, mutter, rip, graph, swatch.....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Happy Birthday to the Dearest of Daughters

You know who you are. I'm so proud of you for your independence and willingness to be unconventional, and for your affectionate heart, for your love of travel and eagerness to embrace new cultures, for your creativity and for so much more.

As always, I love you the most in the world, Mom.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mittens, Meatball Geometry


I take back what I said about "Latvian Mittens" being overpriced. It's a fairly skinny book, but the color plates are worth it. There are over eighty mittens pictured (with black and white graphs for the motifs), and it is fascinating to see pattern and technique relationships with mittens from the Scandinavian and Baltic countries. One motif is the same as a design described as Swedish in an old Nomis booklet. Another (not surprisingly) can be found in Nancy Bush's Estonian collection. Several are almost exact matches to charts for Norwegian mitten patterns in Sheila McGregor, and I am sure another is a match to one from Gotland. (Now I want to haul out all those books and start close comparisons.) Fascinating, and beautiful. Not to mention impressive in the fine yarn/tight gauge used, and the fearless use of more than two colors per row. (I can knit with one color in each hand, but haven't mastered adding in a third.)


I've used up one ball of yarn on the shawl center, and so far it measures about 13" from the lower point to the top edge. How large can I make the entire shawl?

Fuzzy photo. I have a lovely scan, but can't get it to upload.

I used this little graph to do a rough calculation (wish I could remember what book I found the concept in). If one ball of yarn gets me one triangle's worth, 9 balls of yarn will get me a piece three times as long from bottom point to upper edge (red dotted line), which would be about 39". Sounds OK.

Of course, the garter center section won't be that big. In fact, what I have right now is almost large enough to fit the border as planned. I just figure the border and edging patterns won't eat up any more yarn per square inch than garter does.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival

We couldn't get there until Sunday this year, and it seemed that a lot of the animals had gone home already, but there were still some sweeties.

Mohair on the Hoof. Extremely cute.

Sheep in Spandex. I think these might be meat sheep, not wool sheep, but I loved the fashion statement. Someone get these guys a bicycle.

He only looks like a toy.

Yo llama. These fellas are my very favorites. They have such a sense of their own elegance.

Of course, besides the animals there were two barns full of vendors with yarns and fleeces and rovings and lovely garments, and books and spinning wheels. I broke down and bought one skein of "Thistledown" lace weight from Blackberry Ridge and Lizbeth Upitis' "Latvian Mittens". I have been eyeing that book for years. It had always seemed over priced to me, and it still does, but I decided I really do want it, and I'm glad I got it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Starting the Center - Progressive Shawl

Remember that this shawl is supposed to progress from easier to harder?

Well, my head is starting to hurt from "the math", so to give it a break I'm starting in for real on the easy garter stitch center section. This will also help me guesstimate just how far those 10 balls of yarn might be expected to go.

I'm doing my increases by making a yarn over at the beginning of each row. On the following row I knit into the back of the yarn over to open it up a bit (a trick picked up from Sharon Miller's "Heirloom Knitting"). When it comes time, I'll pick up stitches for the border from the loops. This gives a lighter, lacier join than just picking up from a plain garter edge.

Notice the little knitter's safety pin hanging from the bottom? I put it there to mark and hold the center stitch of my cast on. This will be very important later when I'm picking up those border stitches, because when you're working along and get to that bottom tip it can be really, really hard to tell which yarn over ends the one side and which yarn over begins the other. Besides, I think I will want to pick up a couple of extra stitches there to help ease things around the corner.

Knitter's (or coilless) safety pins are some of my very favorite, wouldn't want to do without, doodads. Good for all kinds of marking and even "basting" seams for sewing. But in this case you could substitute a split ring marker, or a length of contrasting yarn, or even a paper clip.

Shawl progress

The basic idea on this one is that it will progress from easier to more complex. So the center will be plain garter, and the first design challenge will be the border pattern.

Sketch, graph, swatch...fiddle with graph, swatch.

I think I have a basic border pattern down. Now about the corners.....
More charting (good thing I really do like graph paper)

What we're trying to do here is figure out where the cutoff for the corner will look best, and where to place the pattern repeat, and how many stitches I will need to pick up, so I know how big to make the center.

I think I'm almost there.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

OK, back on track

The website and I have called a truce. I deleted a big file; it is letting people in. So while I was in there I decided to write out the directions for my variation of the Caps to the Capitol baby hat. You can find it here: capitolcappattern

Why does this feel like blackmail?

Well the good news is, people must be trying to look at my tiny website. But the bad news is, when too many people try to look, Geocities shuts it down for a bit. We're not talking about hundreds of hits here. We're not even talking about a hundred. More like 37 so far this morning. Free hosting, indeed! I guess the ads they put on the page aren't enough. Sigh. Of course, I could pay for an upgrade. Why does that not surprise me?

So if you, dear reader, were unlucky number thirty-eight: 1) I love you for trying, and 2) you really didn't miss all that much, but try again anyway.

Oh great! Now when I try to save this, I'm getting a "cannot connect to Blogger" message.
The internets is messing with my mind. I'm going to try to fool the internets and save this in Word. Cunning vs. brute cyberspace force.

(later) the post that said it couldn't connect actually appeared four times (three of which I had to delete). I'll call it a draw. I've got to go to work.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Block that kick! (I mean scarf)

Ok, I promise this is the last of the Razor Shell Scarf. I just wanted to show how the pattern blocks out.

So what's the next project to be? I'm thinking triangle shawl, not too complicated, but with a little challenge to it, too. I have ten 50 gm balls of cream/natural colored sock yarn (almost sport weight). I bought these thinking I would hand paint them. That was before I realized what a drag it is unwinding them back into skeins for dyeing. (And then once that process is done, they have to be wound back into balls - no wonder they've been sitting around for more than a year.) So a cream colored shawl, that can be dyed after its done if that's what I decide, which I might, because I already have a cream colored shawl.

I actually wear shawls, but would probably knit them even if I didn't because they make such a nice canvass for lace.

I have always loved blue line graph paper (sort of in the same way that I love office supply stores). Don't exactly know why. So much potential, yet such promise of order. Time to dig out the graph paper.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In lieu of anything new from me

check out the tag team knitter/bloggers at Pickin' and Throwin' .......On Wisconsin!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Population 800 - Homecoming: The Bonfire

Homecoming almost upon us, and it is big here. It is very, very big. It is the biggest thing that happens in town all year. This was new to us. We had memories from growing up, of course. We decorated class floats with crepe paper, and there was a dance, which we may or may not have gone to, and a game, which we may or not have attended. (This is not the editorial or royal "we". I'm including my husband. Over the years we've compared notes on the whole phenomenon.) For us, Homecoming had been something, but not too much.

But here, the week leading up to the game is essentially carnival for the High School. The students are in the building and I understand that there is at least some formal instructional time; but what is mostly going on is theme dress up days, and contests between the classes, and pep rallys, and general horsing around. The seniors officially get time off to collect fuel for "The Bonfire".

Let me tell you about our first bonfire. We had only been in town about three weeks, and we figured this was a good chance to start becoming a part of the community. So Friday night we wandered down to Main Street to watch the procession. In this case, the "torchlight" procession. There weren't too many people on the street. (we learned later that most folks just head straight for the park). We could hear the high school band before it sort of straggled around the corner (this is just an informal warmup for the real parade). When they came into view, they were led by some cheerleaders carrying torches. Obviously homemade torches. These things were wood sticks topped by empty coffee cans. Well, not exactly empty, because there were flames coming out the top. We didn't think too much about this at first, but halfway down Main Street one of the coffee cans fell off the stick and rolled under a parked car. The odd thing was, we seemed to be the only ones who were the least bit concerned about a flaming coffee can under a parked car, a car with a gas tank. Someone did sort of casually go fish the can out, and it is just possible that the flames were out by the time the can hit the curb. I have noticed, though, that we haven't seen any torches in the years since.

Anyway, cheerleaders, band and some pickup trucks filled with Seniors headed to the park, with the rest of us falling in behind. At the park we found a 15-20 foot pile of wood with an honest to goodness outhouse on top and a pretty sizable crowd gathered around. That baby must have been soaked with kerosene, because it went up fast and it went up hot. The crowd stepped back a few paces. It was a mild evening with a light breeze. There was a dry cornfield about 30 feet away. There was not a fire truck in sight. And after a couple of minutes the crowd turned around and walked away, over to the football field to hear some words from the coach and the players. And then everybody went home, and the damn fire was still burning.

Now bear in mind that we had just moved from California, which had been in the middle of a drought, where the least spark was cause for concern, where wildfires had been burning less than 25 miles from our home. Need I say that we found the entire evening highly unnerving and unsettling?

We've calmed down. Now the Bonfire is the part of Homecoming I like best (Though I still feel that people should hang around it a little longer. If you're going to have a really big fire, you might as well watch it awhile). But it is a friendly sort of evening, with lots of little kids running around, and I usually bump into folks I haven't seen in months. Sadly, the supply of genuine outhouses seems to have been fully depleted, but the kids do a plywood mock up, just to carry on the tradition. One year they snuck in firecrackers. The Administration has successfully discouraged a repeat of that, so far at least. One year the fire did spread, but only a little bit; and it seems to me that the Volunteer Fire Department has had a truck around since then.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Razor Shell Scarf continued with directions

Here's what it looks like so far...

It's true, the colors are just a teensy-tinesy bit strong. Some people might consider it a candidate for the late, lamented You Knit What?? (no longer posting, but the archives are a hoot).
However, after many years of opting for a safe, subdued palette I have decided "Life is too short! I am not afraid of color!"

On the other hand, the stitch looks pretty good in a yarn that is subdued

Baxter displays the subtle shade.

The second swatch is made with DMC "Confetti", which is slightly lighter weight than the "Kroy". I used the same size needles, so it should end up slightly "lacier" when blocked.

If you want to make your own, here's how it goes Use any yarn you like (within reason, eyelash would be pointless) How much? I'm going to use about 100 gm sock yarn. I would guess 150-200 grams of worsted. Use a needle size a size or two larger than recommended, unless you knit loosely, then use the size recommended. (I normally knit socks on size 1 or 2 to get gauge, even though 3-4 is recommended, so in this case I actually used 4).

Cast on 31 stitches.
Knit three rows.
Work pattern stitch (see below) until it is long enough. (sk2p = slip one, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over.)
Knit three rows.
Bind off loosely and weave in ends.

Pattern Stitch

Row 1 (WS): K4, p23, k4.
Row 2 (RS): K4, (yo, k1, sk2p, k1, yo, k1) 3 times, yo, k1, sk2p, k1, yo, k4